David (Josh Wiggins) is a child of divorce. He lives with his mother in a big city in Texas while his father, Cal (Matt Bomer), lives out in a remote area of Montana. The father and son have had a difficult time connecting over the years, and when 14-year-old David comes for a visit, their relationship is still as strained and awkward as it has always been. But Cal looks to change this by getting his son away from the technological entrapments of his phone and taking him deep into the wilderness to hunt for moose. Hunting was something that bonded him and his father Clyde (Bill Pullman) together when he was David’s age and he hopes that this hunting trip will do the same for them.
As the two make the long, long trip into the mountains to find a moose that Cal has been tracking and learning his habits for weeks, he uses the opportunity to discuss how he learned to appreciate hunting so long ago. The conversations between the two remain awkward and strange until they finally come upon their prey. Unfortunately, someone else has already come upon the majestic animal and left the unharvested carcass rotting in a muddy pond.
After a few minutes of ranting and cursing, Cal decided the two should chase down an elk and make that David’s first kill. But once again things do not work out as planned when they stumble across a dead grizzly bear cub and evidence that a mother and father bear fought over the cub and are probably still somewhere close by.
Being extra paranoid of bears in the area, Cal tells his son to stick close by and in his sight when they find and kill the elk they’ve been hunting. But David ignores him when he sees a lone bear cub and decides that he should go and pet him. When the bear bites him, mangling his hand, Cal rushes over and begins pushing his son up a tree because he knows the mother bear will be coming at any moment. In their hurry, Cal hands a rifle up to his son who accidentally ends up shooting him in the leg.
With blood pouring out of Cal’s leg and no way to communicate with anyone, David decides to carry his father on his back down the mountain to get help. David must use all his resources and the lessons he learned while climbing up the mountain to get them to safety before Cal bleeds out and dies.
The best thing about this film is the scenery. The mountainous terrain is such a beautiful backdrop to the story that it steals every scene. The acting is as good as it can be with the minimalistic and awkward dialogue throughout. That makes it more realistic because only people in movies have exciting and interesting conversations. For the most part, if you listened into the average person’s conversations you would be bored. This film does an excellent job of capturing that boredom. After the first half hour of watching, I had to turn it off and watch something else or I would have fallen asleep. After about an hour of the film slogging through snow-filled passes and painful dialogue, the introduction of the bears adds some well-needed tension. Unfortunately, the situation brings about the absurdity of the characters. Knowing there are vicious bears in the area would have sent any intelligent hunter in another direction. Instead, they traipse right along. When the cub bites David, it made me laugh and when he ends up shooting his own father in the leg while climbing a tree, which does nothing to save you from a bear, made me laugh even harder. And after all of that, the mother bear just came up to them and laughed at them almost as much as I did as she simply walks away. She probably would have laughed more if she stuck around and saw that a 14-year-old kid would then give his adult father a piggy back ride down a mountain.
The Blu-ray is presented in 1080p High Definition Widescreen with a 2.40:1 ratio and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The video does a great job with all the beautiful snow-capped mountainous scenes in capturing the depth and richness of the colors and representing the true feeling of being in that environment. The audio aspects were a lot less utilized being that the story took place in a remote setting where the lack of sound was more advantageous to the presentation and feel of the story taking place in the middle of nowhere. The Blu-ray contains one Special Feature. It’s “Behind-The-Scenes Footage” which is a discussion about the making of the film with the cast.
While Walking Out had a lot of potential in being a survival film with a heartfelt story, it failed to capture the elements I was looking for. It was too realistic in the father-son relationship aspect that it evolved into doldrum and left me not caring or knowing anything about either person. Without any real character development, it removed any interest in the film and in what was happening to them. The pivotal action scene was utterly ridiculous, which made them both look foolish and undermined any small credibility they may have obtained. By the time the film ended, I was just glad it was finally over as its 96-minute running time felt more like it was five hours long.